Metsä Wood recently held a roundtable focusing on the construction industry and the issues surrounding the housing shortage in the UK. The event was attended by leaders within the housing industry who were able to discuss openly their concerns about meeting the Government's targets for new housing as well as the impact of the recent Brexit vote.
The event was hosted by Esa Kaikkonen the Executive Vice President for Metsä Wood, Henrik Soderstrom the Senior Vice President of Sales for Metsä Wood and Mike Ward, Managing Director for Metsä Wood UK. Mr Ward stated "It was great opportunity to talk to our customers and associates in a relaxed manner about matters important to them to help us learn and grow as a business".
Eric Dean, Innovation and Production Director at Legal and General Homes, was invited to talk at the event as the L&G Homes are building thousands of modular homes to help tackle the housing crisis, an appropriate topic for this event. During his presentation, Mr Dean showed the attendees the plans already in place to build their modular homes at their new factory.
One of the outcomes of the roundtable discussion was just how challenging the Government's target of building 200,000 new homes will be. The major national house builders can grow volumes at 5% per year but this would still leave deficit against the set Government targets of around 10,000 homes per annum. Although new companies such as Legal and General Homes were entering the market, producing modular housing, they would have to start up two factories per year to fill this gap. It was felt that small to medium builders would not be able to deliver significant growth due to access to finance.
Another key point was the increase in demand for modular, pre-fabricated houses. Building floor and roof cassettes built off-site means fewer skilled labourers are required on-site which is a major advantage to housebuilders. Around 90% of timber frame floors are now built as cassettes because it's fast and reduces health and safety issues. The increased use of timber frame floors is good news for engineered timber such as Metsä Wood's Kerto® LVL which is used within timber frame systems.